Turkana, Kenya: Mass Baptism, Chrismation and First Eucharist

September 9, 2011

Dancing in the Desert in Loupala, Kenya

September 18, 2010

Orthodox Christian missionaries, working with the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), are reaching many people throughout the world. Here are a group of Orthodox from the Turkana people from Northern Kenya  joyous after Divine Liturgy in the village of Loupala:

An OCMC missionary wrote earlier about their work in Loupala:

The following day I traveled out of Lodwar with Fr. Vladimir and Fr. Zachariah to meet with some of these people now within reach of the Church. The three hour jeep ride to the village of Loupala across the deserts of northern Kenya hinted at how far removed the Turkana are from the rest of the world and what struggles they face. The soft contours of the pale red earth were sun-baked with merciless intensity; the color green was conspicuously absent from the scenery I watched fly by through a film of dust that covered the windows.

In Loupala, we met a burgeoning community of Orthodox Christians evangelized by Fr. Zachariah. Before his arrival, 75% of the village was not Christian. Fr. Vladimir asked that we preach and teach, so under a shade tree about 200 people gathered as we spoke about the God’s plan for salvation and the importance of Baptism. Men, women, and children listened attentively, and some asked very good questions, even though many of them looked tired and weak.

Fr. Zachariah shared that some of the people who attended our catechetical seminar began the day with a fifteen-mile walk just to fetch water. Rain, as it turns out, is a very rare and precious resource for the Turkana people. They are plagued with cyclical drought. The fatigue of dehydration and starvation could be seen on the faces of malnourished children and parents feeling powerless to change the situation.

Many Turkana lose loved ones to these harsh conditions. Some have taken to violence and banditry among their own people as a means to escape the extreme poverty that surrounds them. Could Christ and His Church be an answer to these problems and a source of hope for the Turkana people?

Most definitely! Donations to OCMC can be made at this link from their website.